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placeholder December 15, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 21   •   Oakland, CA
Obituaries

Deacon Denis Ryken

Deacon Charles Denis Ryken, a deacon for the Diocese of Oakland, died Nov. 11, after a courageous battle with Parkinson's Disease. He was 77.

A resident of Hayward, Deacon Ryken graduated with both his bachelor's and master's degrees at Cal State Hayward. He spent much of his life working for the County of Alameda in the assessor's office as well as the public defender's office.

His home life revolved around his wife, Rose Anne and their five sons. Members of St. Bede Parish in Hayward, he and his wife were both spiritual leaders who believed in the importance of social justice ministry. Together the couple had been active in parish ministries including small parish groups, the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the shelter operated by the Family Emergency Shelter Coalition, FESCO.

He was ordained to serve the Diocese of Oakland on Feb. 25, 1995. He was assigned to serve at St. Bede. The deacon conducted his ministry despite living with a chronic illness and suffering side effects of the medication. He was limited in some activities but he kept going on. With his wife of 45 years by his side, the deacon got it done. She eventually became the caregiver and "the driver" and transported him to wherever he needed to be.

In the days after his death Rose Anne Ryken said that she was comforted by the number of people giving their condolences. One comment especially from a well-wisher resonated with Mrs. Ryken. "'He was such a gentle man.'" That phrase appears on the front of the Mass program.

"He had such a gentle presence. I was blessed for the years we spent together," said Mrs. Ryken. The last weeks that he spent at home meant "so much," she added. "He was a wonderful man."

Survivors include his wife, Rose Anne, their five sons, the sons' spouses, four grandchildren and the deacon's six siblings.

The funeral was held on Nov. 18 at St. Bede Church in Hayward.




Brother Myron Collins, FSC

Brother Myron Collins, who was 83 and in his 65th year as a De La Salle Brother, died Dec. 3 at Mont La Salle in Napa.

The Berkeley native was christened Patrick John after his birth in Berkeley on Jan. 20, 1931. He attended St. Augustine Grammar School in Oakland before going to Mont La Salle to complete his high school education. At Mont La Salle, he continued to the Novitiate and received the habit on August 1949, taking the religious name Thomas Myron.

After Brother Myron completed his undergraduate degree at Saint Mary's College in Moraga, he began a 55-year career as a teacher. He taught at a high school in Fresno for four years before returning to school as a student himself and graduated with a master's of science degree in chemistry from Fresno State College. Then he became a chemistry instructor at Saint Mary's College in Moraga and remained there for much of his life except for a 10-year period (1994 to 2004) when he taught chemistry at Bethlehem University in Palestine. On his return in 2004, he became a chemistry tutor at Saint Mary's College before retiring to the Holy Family Community at Mont La Salle in 2011.

Known for his quiet presence and his sense of humor, Brother Myron was a regular summer staff member at Camp La Salle (Huntington Lake), pursued a lifelong interest in the Eastern Rite, singing in the choir and being an active member of Our Lady of Fatima Byzantine Catholic Church in San Francisco. According to the obituary sent from his community, Brother Myron "developed a keen appreciation for everything from card-playing to wines and wine tasting, gladly sharing all that he learned, loved, and knew with Brothers, friends and others."

The funeral was scheduled for Dec. 13 at Mont La Salle. Memories and notes of sympathy may be left at claffeyandrota.com.

 
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